Co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and USQ, the $16 million precinct will be used primarily for GRDC-supported, USQ-led research conducted for the benefit of Australian grain growers.
'Partnerships such as these are imperative for ongoing impactful research that will drive growth in our agricultural industries,'
The precinct research will focus primarily in the areas of crop protection, plant pathology and biotechnology. Australian grain growers will directly benefit from the research undertaken in this new facility including ongoing research into crop protection and pre-breeding and the development of integrated methods of disease management. This research will ensure growers’ crop returns using these new farming methods.
The development includes ten laboratories (including specialist quarantine facilities), four glasshouses, netted and irrigated facilities for field research, harvesting and processing of field and glasshouse samples, root and soil sampling for nematodes and four, state-of-the-art controlled environment rooms.
The facilities will be used for pre-breeding programs for pathogen resistant varieties of wheat, barley, mungbeans, chickpeas and several horticultural crops. The Precinct will also facilitate interaction with agricultural engineering research teams, giving them the ability to undertake trials using new technologies such as machine vision sensing and robotics.
'As a University, we are committed to our teaching mission and this facility will also play a major role in the training of our future scientists. We currently have over 30 staff and 30 research students using the facility engaged in research across the spectrum, from grains to horticulture to food sciences, reflecting our commitment to the future of crop health research in Australia,' said USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie.